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MAN(7)			   Linux Programmers Manual		       MAN(7)

       man - macros to format man pages

       groff -Tascii -man file ...

       groff -Tps -man file ...

       man [section] title

       This manual page explains the groff an.tmac macro package (often called
       the man macro package).	This macro package should be used by  develop
       ers when writing or porting man pages for Linux.  It is fairly compati
       ble with other versions of this macro package,  so  porting  man  pages
       should  not  be	a  major  problem  (exceptions	include  the NET-2 BSD
       release, which uses a totally different macro package called mdoc;  see

       Note  that  NET-2  BSD  mdoc man pages can be used with groff simply by
       specifying the -mdoc option instead of  the  -man  option.   Using  the
       -mandoc	option is, however, recommended, since this will automatically
       detect which macro package is in use.

       For conventions that should be employed when writing man pages for  the
       Linux man-pages package, see man-pages(7).

   Title line
       The  first  command  in a man page (after comment lines, that is, lines
       that start with .\") should be

	      .TH title section date source manual

       For details of the arguments that should be supplied to the TH command,
       see man-pages(7).

       Note  that  BSD mdoc-formatted pages begin with the Dd command, not the
       TH command.

       Sections are started with .SH followed by the heading name.

       The only mandatory heading is NAME, which should be the	first  section
       and  be followed on the next line by a one line description of the pro

	      .SH NAME

       It is extremely important that this format is followed, and that  there
       is  a  backslash before the single dash which follows the command name.
       This syntax is used by the makewhatis(8) program to create  a  database
       of  short  command  descriptions  for the whatis(1) and apropos(1) com

       For a list of other sections that might appear in a  manual  page,  see

       The commands to select the type face are:

       .B  Bold

       .BI Bold alternating with italics (especially useful for function spec

       .BR Bold alternating with Roman (especially  useful  for  referring  to
	   other manual pages)

       .I  Italics

       .IB Italics alternating with bold

       .IR Italics alternating with Roman

       .RB Roman alternating with bold

       .RI Roman alternating with italics

       .SB Small alternating with bold

       .SM Small (useful for acronyms)

       Traditionally,  each  command can have up to six arguments, but the GNU
       implementation removes this limitation (you might still want  to  limit
       yourself  to 6 arguments for portabilitys sake).  Arguments are delim
       ited by spaces.	Double quotes can be used to specify an argument which
       contains  spaces.   All	of  the arguments will be printed next to each
       other without intervening spaces, so that the .BR command can  be  used
       to  specify  a word in bold followed by a mark of punctuation in Roman.
       If no arguments are given, the command is applied to the following line
       of text.

   Other Macros and Strings
       Below  are  other relevant macros and predefined strings.  Unless noted
       otherwise, all macros cause a break (end the  current  line  of	text).
       Many of these macros set or use the "prevailing indent."  The "prevail
       ing indent" value is set by any	macro  with  the  parameter  i	below;
       macros  may  omit i in which case the current prevailing indent will be
       used.  As a result, successive indented paragraphs  can	use  the  same
       indent without re-specifying the indent value.  A normal (non-indented)
       paragraph resets the prevailing indent value to its default value  (0.5
       inches).   By default a given indent is measured in ens; try to use ens
       or ems as units for indents, since these will automatically  adjust  to
       font size changes.  The other key macro definitions are:

   Normal Paragraphs
       .LP	Same as .PP (begin a new paragraph).

       .P	Same as .PP (begin a new paragraph).

       .PP	Begin a new paragraph and reset prevailing indent.

   Relative Margin Indent
       .RS i	Start  relative  margin indent: moves the left margin i to the
		right (if i is omitted, the prevailing indent value is	used).
		A  new	prevailing  indent is set to 0.5 inches.  As a result,
		all following paragraph(s) will be indented until  the	corre
		sponding .RE.

       .RE	End  relative margin indent and restores the previous value of
		the prevailing indent.

   Indented Paragraph Macros
       .HP i	Begin paragraph with a hanging indent (the first line  of  the
		paragraph  is at the left margin of normal paragraphs, and the
		rest of the paragraphs lines are indented).

       .IP x i	Indented paragraph with optional hanging tag.  If the tag x is
		omitted,  the entire following paragraph is indented by i.  If
		the tag x is provided, it is hung at the  left	margin	before
		the following indented paragraph (this is just like .TP except
		the tag is included with the command instead of being  on  the
		following  line).   If the tag is too long, the text after the
		tag will be moved down to the next line (text will not be lost
		or  garbled).	For  bulleted  lists, use this macro with \(bu
		(bullet) or \(em (em dash) as the tag, and for numbered lists,
		use the number or letter followed by a period as the tag; this
		simplifies translation to other formats.

       .TP i	Begin paragraph with hanging tag.  The tag  is	given  on  the
		next  line, but its results are like those of the .IP command.

   Hypertext Link Macros
       (Feature supported with groff only.)  In order to  use  hypertext  link
       macros,	it  is	necessary to load the www.tmac macro package.  Use the
       request .mso www.tmac to do this.

       .URL url link trailer
		Inserts a hypertext link to the URI (URL) url,	with  link  as
		the text of the link.  The trailer will be printed immediately
		afterwards.  When generating HTML this should  translate  into
		the HTML command linktrailer.

		This and other related macros are new, and many tools wont do
		anything with them, but since  many  tools  (including	troff)
		will  simply ignore undefined macros (or at worst insert their
		text) these are safe to insert.

		It can be useful to define your own URL macro in manual  pages
		for  the  benefit of those viewing it with a roff viewer other
		than groff.  That way, the URL, link text,  and  trailer  text
		(if any) are still visible.

		Heres an example:
		      .de URL
		      \\$2 \(laURL: \\$1 \(ra\\$3
		      .if \n[.g] .mso www.tmac
		      .TH ...
		      (later in the page)
		      This software comes from the
		      .URL "http://www.gnu.org/" "GNU Project" " of the"
		      .URL  "http://www.fsf.org/" "Free Software Foundation" .

		In the above, if groff is being used, the www.tmac macro pack
		ages  definition  of the URL macro will supersede the locally
		defined one.

       A number of other link macros are available.  See groff_www(7) for more

   Miscellaneous Macros
       .DT	Reset  tabs to default tab values (every 0.5 inches); does not
		cause a break.

       .PD d	Set  inter-paragraph  vertical	distance  to  d  (if  omitted,
		d=0.4v); does not cause a break.

       .SS t	Subheading  t  (like  .SH,  but used for a subsection inside a

   Predefined Strings
       The man package has the following predefined strings:

       \*R    Registration Symbol:

       \*S    Change to default font size

       \*(Tm  Trademark Symbol:

       \*(lq  Left angled double quote:

       \*(rq  Right angled double quote:

   Safe Subset
       Although technically man is a troff macro package, in reality  a  large
       number  of  other tools process man page files that dont implement all
       of troffs abilities.  Thus, its best to avoid some  of  troffs  more
       exotic  abilities  where  possible  to permit these other tools to work
       correctly.  Avoid using the various troff preprocessors (if  you  must,
       go  ahead and use tbl(1), but try to use the IP and TP commands instead
       for two-column tables).	Avoid using  computations;  most  other  tools
       cant  process them.  Use simple commands that are easy to translate to
       other formats.  The following troff macros  are	believed  to  be  safe
       (though	in many cases they will be ignored by translators): \", ., ad,
       bp, br, ce, de, ds, el, ie, if, fi, ft, hy, ig, in, na, ne, nf, nh, ps,
       so, sp, ti, tr.

       You may also use many troff escape sequences (those sequences beginning
       with \).  When you need to include the backslash  character  as	normal
       text, use \e.  Other sequences you may use, where x or xx are any char
       acters and N is any digit, include: \, \, \-, \., \", \%, \*x, \*(xx,
       \(xx,  \$N,  \nx,  \n(xx,  \fx,	and  \f(xx.   Avoid  using  the escape
       sequences for drawing graphics.

       Do not use the optional parameter for bp (break page).  Use only  posi
       tive  values  for  sp (vertical space).	Dont define a macro (de) with
       the same name as a macro in this or the mdoc macro package with a  dif
       ferent  meaning;  its  likely that such redefinitions will be ignored.
       Every positive indent (in) should be paired with  a  matching  negative
       indent  (although  you  should  be using the RS and RE macros instead).
       The condition test (if,ie) should only have 't' or 'n'  as  the	condi
       tion.  Only translations (tr) that can be ignored should be used.  Font
       changes (ft and the \f escape sequence) should only have the values  1,
       2,  3,  4,  R,  I, B, P, or CW (the ft command may also have no parame

       If you use capabilities beyond these, check the	results  carefully  on
       several tools.  Once youve confirmed that the additional capability is
       safe, let the maintainer of this document know about the  safe  command
       or sequence that should be added to this list.


       By all means include full URLs (or URIs) in the text itself; some tools
       such as man2html(1) can automatically turn them into  hypertext	links.
       You  can also use the new URL macro to identify links to related infor
       mation.	If you include URLs, use the full URL (e.g.,  ) to ensure that tools can automatically find the URLs.

       Tools processing these files should open the file and examine the first
       non-whitespace character.  A period (.) or  single  quote  ()  at  the
       beginning of a line indicates a troff-based file (such as man or mdoc).
       A left angle bracket (<) indicates an SGML/XML-based file (such as HTML
       or  Docbook).   Anything else suggests simple ASCII text (e.g., a "cat
       man" result).

       Many man pages begin with \" followed by a space and a list of charac
       ters, indicating how the page is to be preprocessed.  For portabilitys
       sake to	non-troff  translators	we  recommend  that  you  avoid  using
       anything  other	than  tbl(1), and Linux can detect that automatically.
       However, you might want to include this information so  your  man  page
       can  be	handled by other (less capable) systems.  Here are the defini
       tions of the preprocessors invoked by these characters:

       e  eqn(1)

       g  grap(1)

       p  pic(1)

       r  refer(1)

       t  tbl(1)

       v  vgrind(1)

       Most of the macros describe formatting (e.g., font  type  and  spacing)
       instead	of marking semantic content (e.g., this text is a reference to
       another page), compared to formats like mdoc and DocBook (even HTML has
       more  semantic  markings).   This situation makes it harder to vary the
       man format for different media, to make the formatting consistent for a
       given media, and to automatically insert cross-references.  By sticking
       to the safe subset described above, it should  be  easier  to  automate
       transitioning to a different reference page format in the future.

       The Sun macro TX is not implemented.

       apropos(1),  groff(1),  man(1),	man2html(1), groff_mdoc(7), whatis(1),
       groff_man(7), groff_www(7), man-pages(7), mdoc(7)

       This page is part of release 3.05 of the Linux  man-pages  project.   A
       description  of	the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
       be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

Linux				  2007-05-30				MAN(7)

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